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Glassblowing Today

While the three required tools for glassblowing have remained the same there are more options for tools today to enhance the process that was not available to those that created the art form. As if the advantage of clean burning fuels were not enough we also have access to fuels that take much less space and much less effort to maintain.

Historically it could take hours to get a fire hot enough that it could melt glass to the point of being molten. Today it can be done in a couple of minutes. Historically if you wanted to have enough fuel to keep that fire hot enough to keep your glass molten all day it would take days to gather enough wood or coal and require easily a literal ton of coal or wood to do the job. Now the same job can be done with a 20 minute trip to town for a bottle of propane you can move into your shop by yourself.

Crucibles are also more readily available and more advanced now. No longer will you be looking for a hole in the ground or a hollowed out rock to work with. You can get a crucible in any size or shape you want. The information as to how hot a fuel will burn at what airflow is also available so that you may determine exactly how far from the heat source your object should be to maintain the ideal temperature. Depending on the type of glass you are using or how the additives you use for coloring change the properties of the glass you are working with you may need to change the target temperature of your project by a relatively small amount to get the ideal behavior. These ideal temperatures can easily be discovered and maintained to the point that you could get picky enough to change the distance you would hold your project from the heat source by as little as a quarter inch versus what you would do with another type of glass.

Additionally, with the reduction in the cost of fuels, you could have multiple burners set up at different temperatures at the same time. You may have one for melting fresh glass, another for keeping your class hot while you work, and yet another for working in colored glass and decorative additives. Eliminating this guesswork to bring your work down to a mathematical science. These small measurements are possible today by having adjustable stands on which to rest the blowpipe, and fuels, furnaces and blowers that behave consistently and reliably. All of these improvements contribute to making items out of glass being much safer, much more cost efficient, much less time-consuming and more reliable than it has ever been in history.